Care and order of our liturgical items

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal explains, “The following also exercise(s) a liturgical function: The sacristan, who carefully arranges the liturgical books, the vestments, and other things necessary in the celebration of the Mass” (No. 105). A sacristan is an officer charged with care of the sacristy, the church, and their contents.

It is an essential service in the parish. The sacristan helps the priests focus on the ministerial aspect of their priesthood and keeps the liturgical items for Mass in order.

The History

In ancient times, the doorkeepers (Ostiarii) performed many of the duties that sacristans now perform. Later, treasurers and mansionaries assumed these duties. The Decretals of Gregory IX speak of the sacristan as if he had an honorable office attached to a certain benefice and say that his duty was to care for the sacred vessels, vestments, lights, etc. Now, the sacristan is elected or appointed. The Cæremoniale Episcoporum prescribed that in the cathedral and collegiate churches, the sacristan should be a priest and describes his duties regarding the sacristy, the Blessed Eucharist, the baptismal font, the holy oils, the sacred relics, the decoration of the church for the different seasons and feasts, the preparation of what is necessary for the various ceremonies, the pregustation in pontifical Mass, the ringing of the church bells, the preservation of order in the church, and the distribution of Masses; finally, it suggests that one or two canons be appointed each year to supervise the work of the sacrist and his assistants.

For more information, please fill out the form below.

Sacristan Calendar